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Old 05-27-2016, 03:38 PM  
SKB_Hamsters
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Default Feeding Hamsters with Missing Teeth or Who Are Elderly

I was typing up this information for myself for future reference, but I thought it might also be useful to other people, so I thought it would also be good to share. I’ve been experimenting with ways to enable Sherbet to eat everything she used to eat eventhough she has broken both her top two teeth. I wanted to ensure that Sherbet was eating a balanced diet which included a variety. As Sherbet is a hamster who enjoys her food and I didn’t want her accident to affect her ability to eat her normal food. These methods are suitable for hamsters that are missing teeth, elderly or who are having difficulties eating.

Wet Food
Making wet food is the easiest way to ensure that your hamster is receiving a balanced diet which contains all the nutrients essential to your hamster. The best food to use for wet food is a complete food pellet such as Supreme Science Selective, or any complete pellet food. There are two methods to create wet food which are:
Soaking Pellets
Soaking pellets is one of the most well-known method to make wet food. To make food using this method, you need to put your hamster pellets in a bowl and cover with warm water (either boiled or heated in the microwave for 10 seconds), then leave the pellets to absorb the water (additional water may need to be added). The longer you leave the pellets for in the water the softer they will be. Once the pellets are soft, mash the pellets up – if you got an elderly hamster you can feed them to your hamster like this or you can pass the pellets through a sieve to make a smoother texture which is more ideal for hamster missing teeth, as Sherbet found it a lot easier for her to eat initially after her accident when it was smoother.

Crushing Pellets
I found this method was quicker way to make wet food. Pellets need to be crushed using a pestle and mortar or a food processor, they can be made fine or pieces can be left larger depending upon the texture you desire, the crushed pellets can be feed like this or water can be added to make a paste. For 6 Supreme Science Selective I initially added 2 table spoons of boiled water, it looks like there is too much water but the powdered pellets will absorb the water, I normally gradually add teaspoon amount of water until I get the right texture. If you make the food too wet add some more crushed pellets or add some porridge oats to thicken up the food.
Treats
I normally give Sherbet natural treats such as nuts, seeds, fresh vegetables, cold cooked chicken, dried mealworms or store bought hamster treats (which are low in sugar), which normally involves the use of all front teeth to chew into smaller piece to help the back teeth to grind, so I tried experimenting with ways to enable her to eat her favourite treats. I sprinkle her treats (she get different treats each day)on her food and gently push into her wet food. I found different methods work best with different treats:
  • Seeds –slightly crushed or left whole depending on their size. Seeds can be bought unshelled from supermarket which makes it easier especially for hamsters that are missing teeth. For example Sunflower seed hearts, pumpkin seeds, millet
  • Nuts – crushed, grated or finely chopped depending upon the size of the pieces you desire or the size of the nuts. For example walnut, peanuts, hazelnuts
  • Fresh Vegetable – grated, finely chopped or mashed depending on how hard the vegetable is initially. Another method I tried was a boiled some vegetable in boiling water until soft, then mashed the vegetables to give as a special treat. For example carrots, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower
  • Cold Cooked Chicken - Finely chopped into small pieces
  • Dried Mealworms – slightly crushed or broken up in smaller pieces or they can be soaked in warm water to rehydrate the mealworms.
  • Store bought hamster treats – depending on the treat this depends upon which method is best.

Baby Food
This can be given to any hamster as a special treat or that are having difficulties eating, but its best to check the ingredients to ensure they contain no onion, garlic, leek, tomatoes, lemon or any other ingredients which are unsafe for hamsters. Sherbet personally didn’t like baby food but some hamsters will happily eat them depending on what ingredients the food contains. Or you can make your own baby food using fresh vegetables as mentioned above.

Porridge
This can be given to any hamsters as a special treat. You can make the porridge using porridge oats and water; add enough water to get the texture you desire. Porridge oats can be crushed to make a smoother porridge. I find mixing some treats into her porridge makes it more appetising for Sherbet or mix in some crushed pellets.


Any wet food should be changed daily (every 24 hours) to ensure that food remains fresh and is best to feed in a shallow bowl.


I hope this information will be helpful.
If you have any other tips or ideas on how to feed hamsters who are missing teeth, elderly or who are having difficulties eating, I would love to hear them.

(I thought I would add a couple of pictures of Sherbet's food and her eating)
Attached Images
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Last edited by SKB_Hamsters; 05-28-2016 at 02:48 AM.
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